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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2016

Washington Times, June 29, 1916:

[Cleveland manager] Lee Fohl makes a bid for popularity when he numbers his players, but what’s the use?

In these latter days of baseball in the major leagues, every park is well equipped with score boards and official announcers. There is no need of numbering players in such an open game as baseball.
...
Let correct score boards be given away at all major league parks, and have some brains spent in the management of the scoreboard, that’s all that is necessary for the fans to get all the information they wish.

And get those darn kids off my lawn!

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2016 at 09:17 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, grumpy old men, history, uniforms

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-28-2016

Washington Times, June 28, 1916:

A double-header yesterday afternoon, in which the Browns and Tigers split even, was featured by a small riot.
...
The riot occurred during the first game and the battle was delayed several minutes before the police could restore order. The trouble started when Cobb took exception to the remarks of a fan occupying a box over the Tiger bench. Angered by the spectator’s remarks against him, the Georgia peach went to the box, grabbed hold of the railing and attempted to climb in, but was prevented by his team-mates. Umpires, police, players and fans crowded about the principals and there was much excitement. Ty pointed out the offender to the police, and he left the box.

Ty being Ty.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 28, 2016 at 09:52 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, ty cobb

Monday, June 27, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-27-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 27, 1916:

Cleveland American League players wore numbers on the sleeves of their uniforms in [yesterday’s] game with Chicago, for the first time in the history of baseball so far as known. The numbers corresponded to similar numbers set opposite the players’ names on the score cards, so that all fans in the stands may easily identify the members of the home club.

Numbers? On uniforms? It’s a fad. It’ll never stick.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 27, 2016 at 09:03 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, uniforms

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How Clayton Kershaw’s peak stacks up with all-time greats. | Sports on Earth

Verdict: I’m sorry, but Johnson, after all these years, still wins. Yes, there were only 16 teams, and they were all white guys from the United States, but as far as dominating the sport from the mound, no one has done the job at the level and the volume of The Big Train.

There were some surprises in this exercise. Johnson still reigns. Pedro may still take the modern division, but Maddux is right there with him. Grove has two separate career peaks. And amid the names of Pedro, The Meal Ticket, The Franchise and Big Six, Clayton Kershaw fits right in.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 26, 2016 at 04:17 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, history

Friday, June 24, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-24-2016

Bismarck Daily Tribune, June 24, 1916:

Several years ago while pitching for the Boston Red Sox, [Fred] Anderson was studying dentistry on the side. Finally he decided to give up baseball and follow his other profession. He bought out the practice of an old tooth carpenter down in Georgia and hit 1.000 in the prosperity league.

Finally his health broke under the strain. A physician advised him to take a long rest and be outdoors as much as possible. The Federals, just starting up, offered an opportunity and Anderson grabbed it, signing with Buffalo.

“I guess, Doc. If you insist I need to be outside, I’ll go play big league baseball.”

Anderson was a pretty good pitcher, certainly better than you’d expect from somebody who didn’t really want to play pro baseball. He led the 1917 National League with a 1.44 (!) ERA and never had a single season FIP above 2.59. As you’d expect, he went back to dentistry when he was done playing baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 24, 2016 at 10:53 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fred anderson, history

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-23-2016

Milwaukee Journal, June 23, 1916:

[Ban Johnson] is of the opinion that managers are carrying things so far in their constant shifting of pitchers they are not only injuring their pitchers, but are reducing the interest felt by the steady patrons in the players, and consequently in the game itself.

President Johnson declared: “They are making a joke out of the pitchers by taking them out of the game if a couple of hits are made in succession, or by removing a pitcher who is going along finely to permit some bench warmer to go to bat and strike out or fly out for him.

“I am hearing from the patrons of baseball constantly about this increasing tendency to change pitchers without reason.

His head would explode if he watched baseball these days.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 23, 2016 at 09:44 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Sultan of Swag: Babe Ruth as a Financial Investment | Society for American Baseball Research

Interesting stuff.

Over the course of his career, the total return earned by the Yankees on their investment in Babe Ruth was 1254 percent. Because of its volatility, the stock market returned a net gain of only 17 percent during the period. Bonds did much better at 205 percent, but still fell far short of Ruth. It turns out that Babe Ruth was indeed a wise investment for the Yankees. It would have been difficult for Jacob Ruppert to find any other investment that could have done nearly as well.

Despite the riches the Yankees were earning from Ruth, Yankees general manager Ed Barrow wasn’t particularly appreciative of the Babe in the waning years of his career. In a letter addressed to sportswriter F.C. Lane in March of 1933, Barrow complained that Ruth “is greatly overpaid.” Adding that he hoped “the Colonel will stand pat on his offer of $50,000 and call the big fellow’s bluff about retiring.” The Colonel did not stand pat, eventually offering Ruth $52,000 plus 25 percent of the net receipts from exhibition games, though ultimately only paying him $42,000. It was not one of the Babe’s better years, though he did return a nice profit of about $45,000 for the Colonel’s investment. This was certainly better than Ruppert could have done by investing in the stock market, which lost 17 percent that year. The 45 percent return also outperformed the bond market that year by a substantial amount.

The return on Ruth fell the next year, his final season in New York, to its second lowest, returning the team just over $32,000 in net profits. This was at a much reduced salary of $35,000, however. The Yankees, because they were able to reduce Ruth’s salary toward the end of his career, were able to ride him for a couple of final years of profitable employment before finally shipping him off.

When he was ingloriously dispatched to the Braves in time for the 1935 season the Yankees received nothing in return. Their records indicate that he was sold to the Braves without monetary consideration. It was indeed a quiet ending to the most famous financial investment in Yankees history.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 22, 2016 at 08:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, history, sabr

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-22-2016

New York Tribune, June 22, 1916:

George Foster, the sturdy little right hander of the Boston Red Sox, won lasting fame among the pitchers in baseball [yesterday]. He shut the New York Yankees out without a hit, beating them by a score of 2 to 0.

Three momentary lapses in control was all that prevented this stocky little native of Oklahoma from joining Addie Joss and Cy Young in the ranks of the immortals in the national pastime by allowing no man to get to first base.

This was the second no-hitter in a week. Tom Hughes threw a no-no on June 16.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 22, 2016 at 07:31 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, no-hitters

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-21-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 21, 1916:

Down in the Ohio State league there is a young outfielder by the name of McHenry, who is…going like the proverbial house afire and the harder the pace the better he seems to like it. Already a number of major league clubs are after him but he will likely stick the season out with Huntington or at least until such time that he will be in danger of draft.

McHenry stayed in the Ohio State League until it folded, a few weeks after this mention in the newspaper.

I’ve mentioned him before, but Austin McHenry is one of my favorite ballplayers and one of the great “what if” stories in baseball history. He spent five seasons in the majors, never had an OPS+ worse than 110, and hit .350/.393/.531 (145 OPS+) as a 25-year-old in 1921.

McHenry followed that up with a 1922 season in which he hit .303/.344/.466 (111 OPS+). That sort of performance wouldn’t be all that impressive if he hadn’t done it with a brain tumor affecting his vision. The effects were bad enough that in June, McHenry told his manager that he thought he might be going blind. Austin McHenry was dying and couldn’t see, but he kept playing and kept hitting. Finally, the team sent him home in July to deal with his health issues. He passed away in November 1922.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 21, 2016 at 09:54 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: austin mchenry, dugout, history, prospect reports

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lovers and Cranks « Our Game

Good stuff.

The first thing that impresses one on a visit to the Polo Grounds on any day of the week is the number of spectators. It makes no difference what day it is or which clubs are to compete, there are always crowds on hand to watch a match. On Fridays and Saturdays there are more persons than on other days. But a match between two of the more prominent nines of the League will call out 7,000 or 8,000 persons, no matter what the day may be. The wonder to a man who works for his living is how so many people can spare the time for the sport. They are obliged to leave their offices down town at 2 or 3 o’clock in order to get to the polo grounds in time, and very many of them are constant attendants on the field. The next thing that impresses the visitor is the absolute and perfect knowledge of base-ball which every visitor at the grounds possesses. Nearly every boy and man keeps his own score, registering base hits, runs and errors as the game goes along, and the slightest hint of unfairness on the part of the umpire will bring a yell from thousands of throats instantaneously. The third notable characteristic of the gathering at the polo grounds is the good nature, affability, and friendliness of the crowd. The slim schoolboy ten years of age, and the fat lager-beer saloon proprietor of fifty talk gracefully about the game as it progresses as though they had known each other for years. Men exchange opinions freely about the game with persons they never saw before, and everybody seems good-natured and happy.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 20, 2016 at 01:22 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-20-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 20, 1916:

Third Baseman Johnny Dodge of the Mobile Southern association team, died from a concussion of the brain. He was struck by a pitched ball Sunday thrown by Pitcher Tom Rogers of the Nashville club.

Dodge was drafted by the Philadelphia National league club several years ago from the Virginia league upon the recommendation of Frank Haller, who was scouting for the Phillies at the time. He figured in a trade with the Cincinnati club, after a year’s service with the Phillies, and played with that club for a season.

Aw, man, that sucks.

I wasn’t familiar with the John Dodge incident; as far as I knew, Ray Chapman was the only player to both play in the major leagues and die as a result of getting hit by a pitched ball.

Rogers’ BB-Ref Bullpen page cites a source that says Dodge had a habit of running at curveballs to hit them before they curved. Unfortunately, he ran at a high fastball and it hit him in the face.

As for Rogers, he went on to throw a perfect game three weeks later, then spent four so-so years in the majors.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 20, 2016 at 10:45 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, dugout, history, john dodge, tom rogers

Did John McGraw Have a Bullpen Edge? – The Hardball Times

Somebody isn’t trying hard enough.

Bill James has written more about baseball—encompassing history, analytics, and opinion—than I will ever get to read. That doesn’t stop me from reading, and often re-reading, his work. One old passage of his I came across recently covered all three elements I just named, and offered a prediction that he didn’t test—but I can.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 20, 2016 at 09:45 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, history, john mcgraw

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Did Lou Gehrig actually die of ‘Lou Gehrig’s disease’? | PBS NewsHour

Virtually every American today, be they a baseball fan or not, knows Lou Gehrig’s “bad break” was his diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fierce neurodegenerative disorder that robs one of muscle control, swallowing, breathing, and ultimately, life.

Two months earlier, on May 1, 1939, Gehrig gallantly took himself out of the lineup because he could no longer will his body to perform the athletic miracles that made him, arguably, the best baseball player ever to play the game. The Hall of Famer won the Triple Crown in 1934 and was the American League’s Most Valuable Player twice, in 1927 and 1936. He was a member of six World Series Championship teams (1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938) and during his 14-year career, he knocked out 493 homers and 2,721 hits, batted in 1,995 runs, and achieved a lifetime batting average of .340!

His history of so many head injuries may well have played a role in his rapid decline and death. Gehrig began experiencing his first neurological symptoms in 1938, right around the time of his 35th birthday. Desperate to find out the cause of his problems, he and his wife visited the famed Mayo Clinic, from June 13 to June 19, 1939. On the 19th, Gehrig’s 36th birthday, his internist, Dr. Harold Habein, certified his diagnosis of the poorly understood, rare and typically fatal ALS.
Today’s medical consumer would be shocked to learn that Gehrig’s doctors couched the prognosis in terms of a 50-50 chance of recovery, even though they knew this not to be so. Yet medical ethics and practice of this era often emboldened physicians to tell a patient partial truth about a lethal malady or, paternalistically, not to tell the patient at all, and, instead, only inform close relatives. Nevertheless, recovery was a belief Gehrig hung onto for the remaining two years of his life. In retirement, he took on an active role as a member of the New York City Parole Commission, but by spring 1941, he had lost too much strength to fulfill those duties. He died on June 3, 1941, just 16 days shy of 37 years of age.

Approximately 30,000 people living in the United States have the incurable and progressive ALS, most of them are men between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Many die within a few years of being diagnosed; others, such as the famed physicist Stephen Hawking, can live for years with their brains fully functioning even though their bodies and muscles have degenerated and wasted.

But was ALS the cause of Lou Gehrig’s death?

Maybe not, say a group of neurologists, physicians and pathologists at the Boston University School of Medicine Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. These doctors are presently conducting landmark research on the brains of deceased former NFL players. In 2010, they presented convincing pathological evidence that “repetitive head trauma experienced in collision sports” may be associated with the development of motor-neuron disease. In other words, repetitive head trauma, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may result in a syndrome that mimics ALS. (Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2010; 69 (9): 918-92

Jim Furtado Posted: June 18, 2016 at 07:22 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: history, lou gehrig

Friday, June 17, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-17-2016

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 17, 1916:

Tom Hughes, lanky Brave pitcher, broke a fast curve ball over the outside corner with Honus Wagner at the plate [yesterday] afternoon. Umpire Bill Klem’s right arm swung in strike fashion and with that gesture Long Tom’s name was flashed to the baseball Hall of Fame. The achievement was a no-hit game against the Pitates and the Braves scored a shut-out victory, 2 to 0.

Hughes’ feat is the first of its kind in the major leagues this season.

The baseball Hall of Fame meant something different in 1916 than it does in 2016.

Anyway, Salida Tom Hughes (not to be confused with Long Tom Hughes) was frequently used out of the bullpen - the closest thing to a relief ace that you were likely to find in that era. He led the league in games pitched, games finished, and saves in 1915 while also throwing 280.1 innings, 17 complete games, and four shutouts. Hughes made 13 starts and 27 relief appearances in 1916, but clearly he had the ability to be a regular starting pitcher if George Stallings had needed one.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 17, 2016 at 09:59 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, no-hitters, salida tom hughes

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-16-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 16, 1916:

WAMBSGANSS PICKS HIMSELF FOR BENCH

Fans are wondering what will happen when Manager Fohl finally decides to put Ray Chapman back in the Indian’s [sic] lineup—a thing which won’t happen, says Fohl, as long as the tribe is hitting its present great winning clip.

But Chappie’s going to get back there sooner or later, and then the rooters are guessing whether it’ll be Ivan Howard or Bill Wambsganss who’ll go to the bench for utility infield duty.
...
[Wambsganss:] “Ivan’s a marvel at second—that’s all there is to it. And he’s playing such a game that Fohl can’t afford to let him sit the bench…Of course I’d like to be in there all the time but there’ll be no hard feelings when I have to go to the bench to let Chappie back in the game.”

One of the two benching candidates won a World Series ring as an everyday infielder with the 1920 Indians. One was out of the big leagues for good after failing to slug .250 as an Indian.

Methinks Wamby was overly modest.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 16, 2016 at 10:49 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-15-2016

Bismarck Daily Tribune, Jule 15, 1916:

BOYS TRY OUT AXES ON GRAND STAND

The Bismarck Baseball Club has been aroused by the industry of certain small boys in trying out their new axes on the ball park grand stand.

Considerable damage has already been done, which will necessitate extensive repairs before the next game.

Ice Bear will take care of it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 15, 2016 at 10:34 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-14-2016

Milwaukee Journal, June 14, 1916:

Ed Walsh came back at Comiskey park yesterday to say farewell to the game, of which he was one of the most brilliant ornaments. The iron man of former seasons lasted less than three tinnings, and although he tried to look fate squarely in the face when he walked from the box to give way to Reb Russell, it was noticed that his strong right hand made a motion as if to brush away a tear.

It was Walsh’s final start as a White Sock. He made a relief appearance in July 1916 and made a handful of starts with the 1917 Braves, but his career was essentially over at this point. To this day, Walsh is the all-time MLB leader in career ERA (1.82) and career FIP (2.02). He’s tenth all-time with a 145 ERA+.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 14, 2016 at 09:33 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, ed walsh, history

Monday, June 13, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-13-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 13, 1916:

Babe Ruth of the Redsox is some athlete. He is not only a good pitcher, but can produce at the bat. He was used as a pinch hitter yesterday and made good with a home run.

Man, it’s too bad pitchers only make 38-40 starts per year. I guess we’ll never see what Ruth could do if he got 500 at bats. He could hit 15 or 20 home runs in a season!

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 13, 2016 at 09:30 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Separating Babe Ruth truth from fiction

The reports of Babe Ruth’s demise were often exaggerated.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 12, 2016 at 09:39 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, history

Friday, June 10, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-10-2016

AP via Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 10, 1916:

REPRESSIVES TO SELECT TY COBB FOR PRESIDENCY

It is rumored that Tyrus Cobb of Augusta (Georgia) and Detroit will be nominated for president on the first ballot.
...
Gedeon of New York and Shotten of St. Louis are mentioned for the war portfolio, while Shore is a possibility for secretary of the navy. Wheat looks to have the nomination for secretary of agriculture, although Meadows may make a strong showing in the St. Louis delegation.
...
Judge of Washington may be given the position as attorney-general…Speaker is slated for temporary chairman.
...
Burns for hot house inspector and Barry as head of the undertaking bureau are possibilities. Love, Good, and Long are mentioned often as members of the Hague conference.

100 years later, Buck Farmer is the Secretary of Agriculture, Chris Sale is the Secretary of Commerce, and Anthony Gose runs the Department of Transportation.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 10, 2016 at 10:11 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-9-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 9, 1916:

White’s Wonders, a ball team composed of seven one-armed boys, using two-arm men only at first base and behind the bat, now touring the south, started their season with an easy victory over the Elberton [Georgia] Home Guards, 11 to 3. Five batters on the Wonder team each poled triples. Brown, pitcher for the one-arm team, allowed six blows. The Wonders committed three errors.

They blew it. Should have called the team the Oneders.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 09, 2016 at 10:16 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Searching for Biases in the First Round of the Draft – The Hardball Times

Interesting, even it doesn’t really tell us much.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 09, 2016 at 09:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, history

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-8-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 8, 1916:

OPPOSITION TO BEAN BALL INCREASING

It is high time that a baseball law was passed making a real penalty for the bean ball, the most dangerous weapon now in the power of big league ball players.

The bean ball is far worse than any player’s spikes, for its effects have been known to injure a player for life.
...
Two persons fainted in the stands [in Cleveland Sunday] as [a pitch] crashed into Gandil’s skull and he dropped to the ground. He was lucky to be hit in front of the ear instead of behind it, and therefore was only dazed.

Such a rule probably would not have prevented the Mays-Chapman incident four years later - most contemporary sources say it was purely accidental - but it certainly wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 08, 2016 at 09:48 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, dugout, history

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-7-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 7, 1916:

Stories printed [in Chicago] under a Boston date say that Manager Tinker of the Chicago Nationals will begin negotiations calculated to bring Johnny Evers of the Boston club back to the Cubs. The stories could not be confirmed here.

In other news, Al Capone is going into business with Bugs Moran, Joseph Stalin is palling around with Leon Trotsky, and Biggie is recording an album with Tupac.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 07, 2016 at 09:21 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, June 06, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-6-2016

Pittsburgh Press, June 6, 1916:

George Wintherbotham, former pitcher in the Pacific Coast league, is a private today in the 211th battalion of the ‘American Legion.’ He joined in order to win the hand and heart of a lady fair—also $50,000 of her papa’s money.

Wintherbotham is a cigar salesman. When he duly requested parental consent for the marriage he proposed, the prospective father-in-law declared he first must prove his merit by going through the war.

To the meritorious son-in-law he also promised the modest sum of $50,000. So Wintherbotham got measured for a uniform.

I’m not sure whether Winterbotham ever got the money, but I’m confident he didn’t get the girl. The 1930 census shows George E. Winterbotham, born circa 1893, was married to Caryl M. Winterbotham, born circa 1905.

If that’s the same girl he proposed to in 1916, I understand why her father thought George should have to face bullets.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 06, 2016 at 09:26 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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